tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 7, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, a deal. is it possible on big things like medicare, social security and taxes? there are rumblings out of washington tonight about actual cooperation. sentencing day for casey anthony. the judge in her murder case seemed to be sending her a message. is nothing safe the huge scandal over a newspaper hacking into people's electronics and now the equally big consequences. and could it really be the end? has harry potter's final chapter actually arrived or could there be more? plus here tonight for all those who remember penmanship, there's a new sign the handwriting may be on the wall. there's a new sign the handwriting may be on the wall. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. it may go all the way back to their meeting on the golf course, for whatever reason, president obama and speaker of the house boehner have forged something of a relationship, while not the best of friends, they are dealing with each other across the enormous and venomous partisan divide that has divided washington to the point of paralysis. knowing a deadline is coming and they have to solve the problem of the nation's debt limit, they have chosen to take on more and go a little further into some big ticket items like social security and medicare and taxes. it is progress with no guarantee, but nothing else has worked thus far. and it's where we begin tonight at the white house with nbc's kristen welker. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, president obama emerged after talks with congressional
leaders saying both sides are still deadlocked but determined to get a deal done very soon. lawmakers will work through the weekend and meet with the president again on sunday. the president and congressional leaders come to the table to hammer out a deal on the debt ceiling. if a deal isn't reached by august 2, economists say the nation will default on its loans. mr. obama called the meeting very constructive but admitted hard work remains. >> i want to emphasize that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to and the parties are still far apart on a wide range of issues. >> reporter: administration officials say the president is pushing for a big deal, somewhere in the ballpark of $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, nearly double the $2 trillion that had been at the center of talks for weeks. >> everybody acknowledges there's going to be pain involved politically on all sides. >> reporter: this amidst reports that the president is pressing democrats to agree to changes in
social security and medicare in exchange for republican concessions on tax revenue. but administration officials insist there's no major policy shift on social security, saying mr. obama would not agree to cut and he's always been open to smul small changes to entitlements. still after today's meeting, house minority leader nancy pelosi drew a line in the sand. >> we do not support cuts in benefits for social security and medicare. any discussion of medicare or social security should be on its own table. >> reporter: earlier in the day, speaker boehner hinted for the first time that republicans were open to reforming the tax code. still he reiterated no tax increases. >> everything is on the table except for raising taxes on the american people. >> reporter: members of both parties are watching from afar, not necessarily aligned on where these talks are going.
still one aid says that speaker boehner told his conference that there's a 50-50% chance that a deal will get done over the next few days. we have heard about this debt limit issue for months. what does it really mean and what are the stakes? for some clarity on this issue, we asked maya mcginnis from the party for a responsible federal budget limit to lay it out for us in her own words. >> what is the debt limit? the dealt limit is a construct that congress has created to give itself a speed bump along the way of its normal process of borrowing a lot of money every year to help pay the bills. there has been a debt ceiling for decades and we have always voted to increase it. and it's never been a very big deal. this year they're talking about actually changing our budget because we have to. if we don't make changes now, the markets are going to force us to in the coming years and that will be a much more painful way to make changes. what happens if we don't raise
the debt limit? the first thing is that we have to pay all the interest that we owe to bondholders and that means there will be much, much less left over for social security payments every year, to reimburse for medicare services that have been rendered, to pay our soldiers who are in iraq and afghanistan. but that could send shivers through our credit markets, not just here but around the world as the u.s. has had a huge loss in confidence. that could end up with major concessions. so if you borrow from your credit cards to buy a dishwasher, a car, or send your kids to school, that's going to become much, much more expensive. at the same time, the government has all this borrowing on its books and it has to pay interest on it. those interest payments would grow immensely if we were to have any kind of default or anything close to it here in the u.s. and there's no reason we should be talking about making it harder for american families to
pay its bills or for the government to pay its bills. when it's already difficult enough. >> and later we'll look at how the budget issues in some states are threatening summer. that's later on in tonight's broadcast. another chapter is in the books in the widely watched saga of casey anthony following all the hubbub this week after she was found not guilty of murdering her daughter, this was sentencing day and while she escaped the murder charge, a trial, remember she was convicted on four counts of lying to police. and today, at her sentencing hearing, the judge delivered the maximum, though it still amounted to good news for the defendant. with us again tonight to explain what went on today, our legal analyst savannah guthrie, a lawyer herself and perhaps you can explain. the judge threw at her all he was allowed to, but she's already been in prison for years? >> exactly, so she'll be out in six days. this is one of those times where people are at home thinking, wait a minute, she got a four-year sentence and she's get out in six days? the reason is because she's
already spent three years in prison. also in florida, you get credit for your good time behavior in prison. they did the calculation in chambers, and the calculation means she should be out by next wednesday. the judges sentence reflects how serious he takes these charges. she lied to police officers about the most serious thing you could possibly lie about, that is the location of her daughter. and because of the time that elapsed between when she first talked to police and when they finally found this little girl, six months had passed and so key evidence likely was lost. bottom line, had she been truthful at the time she first talked to investigators, we may have had a different outcome on tuesday. there may have been evidence that potentially would have explained what happened to this little girl and now we may never know. >> look at all that has happened since. savannah guthrie, good to see you as always. thanks for stopping by with that. overseas tonight in great britain, a turn of events that came as a huge shock in a story we told you about just last night.
a scandal involving a newspaper, the nation's leading sunday tabloid newspaper, and allegations that they hacked into people's phones, all kinds of people. the outrage has been huge, all the way to parliament and the prime minister's office and today the media empire run by rupert murdock announced it is shutting down the newspaper for good. but that's not going to make this go away. nbc's mike tiabbi with us tonight from london with more. mike, good evening. >> good evening, brian. even among media watchers who have been transfixed by this story, there was one reaction i heard several times today, we didn't see this coming. the news of the world, the lynch pin of rupert murdock's media empire, gone as of sunday. >> reporter: the latest allegation that may have been the breaking point that grieving relatives of british solders killed in action have had their cell phones hacked and their
voicemail messages accessed. >> if the actions are proved to have been verified, i'm appalled. i find it disgusting. >> reporter: prime minister david cameron and both sides of the aisle in a rare emergency session in the house of commons. all in agreement that the public needs to know who was hacked, who did it and what they're doing about it. >> obviously the people responsible must pay a penalty. >> reporter: in fact while 80-year-old rupert murdock dodged reporters' questions, his son james said if the allegation is true, the breach is inhuman. >> reporter: and what might be the impact on rupert murdock's bottom line, his legacy, his bulletproof reputation? >> he has weathered major, major scandals, this is certainly a big one and certainly one that has him more back on his heels than anything i can remember. >> reporter: hacking the phones of celebrities and politicians
was one thing, but harvesting the grieving voicemails of the relatives of soldiers lost in battle or children lost to violence triggered an explosion of revulsion that could not be contained. we have advertised as abandoning the paper it's closing will put some 200 people out of work and there are published reports that there are more arrests on the way, perhaps within days, several investigations now underway. >> mike tiabbi with this huge, ongoing story in london and elsewhere. mike, thanks. the big news from the middle east tonight, while syria continues to be in play, while the rebels continue to make some progress against gadhafi and libya, the news in that region today was that the world got its first look at the president of yemen, since he was badly injured last month in an attempt to kill him, and after weeks of rumors about his health, his condition, what people there saw today was shocking. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel was watching from
his post in cairo and is with us from there tonight. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. i was watching yemeni state television on a big 37-inch television right in front of my desk here in cairo. and when the yemeni president started to speak and i know what he looks like, i did not recognize him. his face was much darker than it normally is, he didn't move at all in the chair in which he was sitting, his face was completely expressionless, his hands were bandaged. this is the first time we have seen the yemeni president since that assassination attempt, an explosion inside the yemeni presidential palace a month ago. if this was an attempt by the president or the yemeni government to show that he is still in full control and in command of his capacities, that attempt might not have been successful. in yemen itself, the reaction is largely one of disappointment.
members of the opposition who are still out on the streets every day, they want him to step down and say what they saw today on television is a clear indication he's no longer fit to lead. brian? >> richard engel from his post in cairo tonight. back in this country, the weather forecast for the stretch of southern florida they call the space coast is pretty awful for tomorrow. something like a 70% chance that tomorrow's scheduled final launch of the space shuttle will be scrubbed. the upside is, the u.s. space program gets to live another day or two. as a weather channel meteorologist put it today, the atlantic basin is starting to percolate this time of year. there was a lightning strike nearby the path today. those storms may mean a false start or two, disappointing as well for the hundreds of thousands of americans who have travelled to the cape to see, to witness the last launch. when we come back here tonight, when a government budget crisis really hurts. we'll take you to minnesota where the state is still closed for business and this summer
while as we told you the president and congress fight it out over this federal debt ceiling, the standoff in the state of minnesota between the democratic governor and the republican legislature has led to a government shutdown now entering its second week. nbc's john yang reports from the capital st. paul where the government coming to a stand still is really starting to hit home this summer. >> reporter: for minnesota state highway worker mike linholts, summer is usually a busy time. but today he was working on projects at his father's house and worrying about his bank account. >> i live paycheck to paycheck like most middle class, that's just the way it is, you set your priorities and this is the way it works. >> reporter: he's one of more than 20,000 state workers on
furlough, because the government and state legislature can't agree on how to close a $5 billion budget deficit. for republicans that control the state legislature insist on only spending cuts. >> we will not saddle our children and grandchildren with mounds of debt. >> reporter: the governor wants higher taxes to support social services. >> it's their way or no way, that continues to be their position. if somebody else has a rabbit to pull out of the hat, then i look forward to their doing so. >> reporter: usually crowded state parks and campgrounds are locked shut and some have even fallen victim to vandalism. here's the minnesota state capitol, closed for business. state services not deemed essential or vital are shut down. folks can't apply for a driver's license or even buy a state lottery ticket. across the state the shutdown is beginning to squeeze. >> there's a lot of people just in minnesota now they have no
health care, including myself. >> mike linholts' girlfriend worries that a prolonged state shutdown could threaten her job with the city of st. paul. >> we're just sitting and hoping that we're not next on the chopping block. >> reporter: as the effects of the budget deadlock continue to ripple across the state. john yang, nbc news, st. paul, minnesota. a new report on obesity in this country is out tonight with some sobering stats. in 1995, not a single state in the country had an obesity rate above 20% of the population. now all the stes but one do and colorado, the only one is barely hanging on with 19.8% of its residents considered obese. up next here tonight, who's making hay after that epic dust storm swallowed up phoenix, arizona? o
a safe distance. sadly however, there's been a fatal attack in wyoming. 57-year-old brian matayoshi was on a camping trip with his wife when he apparently happened on a mother grizzly and came between her and her cubs. park rangers say the fatal attack was an act of nature. they will not destroy the animal for simply protecting her family. take another look at the time lapsed pictures of the dust storm in arizona's capital city. it closed the airport and turned the late-day light into night in an instant. residents came home to find dust covered everything and that certainly includes every car in the city. so the booming sector of the local economy today car washes. >> as a car wash operator-owner, we love to see this kind of weather. it means good profit for the week. >> i guess so.
also inundated with business right now is pool cleaning companies. and this dust storm is serious business for a lot of folks with asthma and other respiratory conditions. there's still so much dust lingering in the air, they're still being advised to stay indoors. here's the question, can you write the entire alphabet in upper and lower case in letter-perfect cursive, in a way your mother would approve of? it's a dying art form thanks mostly to the keyboard and simple printing. and and the state of indiana have announced that it no longer be a requirement in their schools. 43 other states have made teaching cursive optional in schools and it may well go the way of the typewriter before long. we have also learned we lost two hall of famers, one from pro football, the other from baseball. john mackey has died as number 88 with the baltimore colts. he defined the role of the modern day tight end in the nfl. he was also a leader among players.
and because of his struggle with dementia late in life and the medical bills that came with his treatment, the league now has what's called the ada plan for its require -- retired veterans. john mackey was 69 years old. and baseball great dick williams has died. the 21-year veteran of the sport was the only man to win pennants with three different teams. as hall of fame skipper with the oakland as, he let them to world series victories in '72 and '73 despite some pretty awful uniforms back in the day. he died of an aneurism at his home in las vegas. dick williams was 82 years old. up next here tonight, why this is a big day in the wizard community, but is it all really coming to an end?
ever since the first book in the series came out 14 years ago now, harry potter has touched just about everybody in this country in some way. we have watched the characters grow up. we have watched the author of the books grow rich. while tonight mark a milestone in this saga, the final film that will bring down the curtain. michelle kosinsky has our report
from london. >> reporter: the fans camped out in london rain from all over this world. >> sidney, australia. >> san francisco. >> reporter: they speak a language all their own. from a world of wizards, good versus evil. that they have been raised on now for 14 years. >> it's the end of an epic phenomenon. >> reporter: potter got millions of people to pull away from the playstation and love reading, to keep wanting more, even at 15 or 17 or 45. the book sold 450 million copies in 70 languages. the movie broke records, more than $6 billion in ticket sales. quite a run for the phenomenon that made little round glasses cool and made j.k. rowling an author.
she was a single mom on welfare when she wrote the books in a coffee shop just to stay warm. and her adoring fans have grown up along with the characters. daniel radcliffe at 10 years old, speechless. today the star of a play and musical. emma watson. >> hello, everyone, out there, hi grandma, hi, grandpa. >> reporter: now on the cover of vogue, an ivy league education awaits. >> part of me feels very old and part of me feels like i'm about to start by adolescence now that it's over. >> reporter: they too see this closing of a long chapter as bittersweet. at least there's a new website for fans that have grown up with but not out of, the boy wizard that cast quite a spell over their childhood. >> forget about it. >> reporter: michelle kosinski, nbc news, london. and that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back
here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening. i'm marla telez? and i'm jessica aguirre. >> the state of california gearing up for what could be the largest police officer layoff in state history and most of those officers are the ones who keep drugs off the streets the state department of justice currently has 484 sworn officers, but the state budget